Keynote Speakers

James Allen

James Allen

Professor of Computer Science, University of Rochester
Associate Director of the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola Florida

 

 

 

 

Biography

James Allen is the John H Dessauer Professor of Computer Science at the University of Rochester, and Associate Director of the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola Florida, He is a Founding Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society. He was editor-in-chief of the journal Computational Linguistics from 1983-1993, and authored the well-known textbook “Natural Language Understanding”. His research concerns defining computational models of intelligent collaborative and conversational agents, with a strong focus on the connection between knowledge, reasoning and language comprehension and dialog.

 

Catherine Pelachaud

 Catherine Pelachaud

Director of Research CNRS at ISIR, University of Pierre and Marie Curie

 

 

 

 

Biography

Catherine Pelachaud is a Director of Research at CNRS in the laboratory ISIR, University of Pierre and Marie Curie. Her research interest includes embodied conversational agent, nonverbal communication (face, gaze, and gesture), expressive behaviors and socio-emotional agents. With her research team, she has been developing an interactive virtual agent platform GRETA that can display emotional and communicative behaviors. She has been involved and is still involved in several European projects related to believable embodied conversational agents, emotion and social behaviors. She is associate editors of several journals among which IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems and Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces. She has co-edited several books on virtual agents and emotion-oriented systems. She participated to the organization of international conferences such as IVA, ACII and AAMAS, virtual agent track. She is recipient of the ACM – SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award 2015.

 

Björn Lindblom

 

Björn Lindblom

Professor emeritus University of Stockholm Sweden
Professor emeritus University of Texas at Austin USA

 

 

 

 

Biography

I began by studying for a medical degree but gradually my focus shifted to music and languages. Planning to make a living as a foreign language teacher I attended classes that happened to include two lectures on acoustic phonetics by Gunnar Fant at KTH in Stockholm. ‘Anyone interested in s summer job? We could use people with a linguistics background’. He then went on to describe the project. Although I cannot honestly say that I had understood much of the lectures, I volunteered and got lucky. I was completely blown away by the dynamics of the KTH lab and its research activities. This was the early sixties – the post-World War II era with lavish funding on communications and computer technology.

Later in life, I came across an anecdote about Richard Feynman, famous physicist who is said to have left the following formulation permanently on the blackboard of his office: ‘What I cannot create I do not understand!

Bingo! Was he referring to the acoustic theory of speech production and copy speech synthesis? In a way, he could have been. More importantly I believe, in this short phrase, he managed to capture the ultimate essence of good science – general knowledge based on first principles. It has been at the back of mind for over fifty years as I have studied how spoken language works on-line, how it is learned and how it came to be.

Applying the Feynman criterion to our own broad field shows that we still have a long way to go. There would be nothing wrong with embarking on that voyage equipped with the tools of Big Data and modern hi-tech neuroscience – on the contrary. But ultimately the quality of our applications – e g clinical, educational –will be a function of how well we really understand how humans do it.

End of sermon. Chop, chop.